May 'anticipated' Russian retaliation in ex-spy poisoning row


Today the Foreign Secretary claimed that Russian Federation has been investigating ways of using nerve agents for assassination for the last decade. "This is a classic Russian strategy of trying to hide the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation".

May also said the nerve agent used against the former spy and his daughter is called Novichok, a weapon that was developed in the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.

Worldwide chemical weapons experts are scheduled to arrive in Britain on March 19 to get samples from the nerve agent involved in the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in England.

Lavrov said Russia's response would come "very soon" but be conveyed to British officials first, an apparent contradiction of an earlier report by state news agency RIA that said Lavrov had promised to expel British diplomats.

Boris Johnson, who was due to brief fellow European Union ministers in Brussels later on Monday, also won renewed support from the bloc, though diplomats cautioned there was no immediate prospect of fresh economic sanctions on Russian Federation over the attack.

The sanctions prompted a swift threat of retaliation from the Russian government, which said a response was already being prepared.

He added: "We support exactly what the Prime Minister said and we condemn Russian Federation for this, condemn them".

Mr Johnson will travel to Brussels to brief foreign ministers from across the European Union at a meeting on Monday on the attempted assassinations before holding talks North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.

"We have destroyed all chemical weapons", he said, adding that Russian Federation was ready to take part in the investigation.

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It comes after NHS England said Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, the police officer exposed to the Novichok agent in Salisbury, is no longer in a critical condition.

People walk passed the British Consulate General, in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, March 17, 2018.

"We need to put pressure on Russian Federation to take part in a real enquiry about the attack", Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told reporters.

He told ITV's Peston on Sunday: "We support exactly what the prime minister said and we condemn Russian Federation for this, condemn them".

Johnson also said Britain would target wealth linked to the Kremlin as a further measure following the spy poisoning. And Porton Down, as we now all know, is the largest military facility in the United Kingdom that has been dealing with chemical weapons research.

The foreign secretary said the claim was "not the response of a country that believes itself to be innocent".

Johnson said the attack was a way for Putin to send a message to anyone considering taking a stand against it that "You do that, you are going to die".

Without explicitly blaming Russian Federation or threatening any repercussions, the ministers called on Russian Federation to "address urgently" British questions over its Novichok nerve agent program, and they expressed "unqualified solidarity" with Prime Minister Theresa May's government.